Congo Terrier, Barkless Dog
The Basenji is a queer specimen indeed: It does not bark. Instead, it emits a sound resembling a yodel. Furthermore, it cleans itself like a cat and trots like a thoroughbred horse.
A peculiarity in the dog's larynx is believed to be responsible for the Basenji's lack of bark. Yet the dog is far from mute. It expresses itself with a variety of noises, including its characteristic 'chortle' that is half-way between a joyous laugh and a Tyrolean yodel. Versatility as a hunting dog- it can point, retrieve, drive game, and pick up a scent 75 metres (250 feet) away-assured its respected position among the tribes of central Africa , its land of origin.
Europeans knew nothing of the Basenji until the 1870s, when English explorers discovered the dogs in an area of Africa still relatively unknown, between the Congo River and Sudan . The dogs had been carefully bred; they served as bush trackers and watch-dogs.
The breeding of Basenjis outside Africa proved difficult, with foundation stock regularly dying of such diseases as distemper. It was not until 1936 that an imported brace, Bongo of Blean and Bokoto of Blean, produced a healthy litter. These puppies were shown at the world-renowned Crufts show, in 1937. They generated such excitement that guards had to be called in to control the enthusiastic crowds.
The Basenji has a happy temperament and punctuates its peculiar conversation with gay tail-wagging. At the slightest incident, it is on the alert, both ears pricked and the skin on its skull wrinkled to produce that irresistible look of surprise that is so characteristic of the dog.
Origin of Basenji
This ancient breed originated central Africa , in an am bounded by Zaire , formerly the Belgian Congo . It has remained a pure breed, merely refined by selective breeding. The difficulty and expense of importing dogs from Africa cannot be underestimated. First, some worthy specimens must be found an arduous trial-and-error experience in a landscape that ~ rough and peopled by primitive tribes. Then the dogs must survive an air or sea voyage. In their new countries, the canines must be supremely healthy to resist diseases unknown in their native land. Much credit for the sturdy Basenji of today goes to Veronica Tudor Wilams, who traveled through the remotest areas of Africa in search of specimens to better the strain. One of those dogs, Fula, was a superb bitch that contributed much to the breed.
Characteristics of Basenji
General appearance: rather high on its legs, yet well-balanced, the Basenji has an alert appearance and an alluring way of cocking its head to the side.
Height: 40.6 to 43.2 cm (16 to 17 in.).
Weight : 9.9 to 11 kg (22 to 24Ib). Under F.C.I. standards, not specified.
Head: of medium breadth, narrowing at eye level, carried high. Flat skull. Fine, profuse wrinkles on forehead. Muzzle narrows from the eyes to the nose; is shorter than the skull. Level teeth. Nose black.
Eyes: small, almond-shaped, deeply set, dark.
Ears: small, pointed, erect, of fine texture, set well forward on top of head.
Neck: medium long well set into shoulders. Fairly full at the base, with a muscular crest.
Body: oblique shoulders well set in. Medium-wide, deep chest. Prominent ribs. Level back. Short loins with sharply defined waist.
Tail: set high, curling tightly over the back once or twice.
Forequarters: legs level. Clean bone structure with well-defined tendons. Pasterns fairly straight, flexible, and of good length.
Hindquarters: sturdy, muscular legs. Long thighs. Hocks well let down, not turned.
Feet: small, narrow. Well-arched toes. Deep pads.
Coat: short, silky hair; very pliant skin.
Color: chestnut with white markings, white at the tip of the tail, feet and chest. The darker the chestnut, the smaller the white markings. White and black; white, black, and tan coats are also found.
Practical information about Basenji
A fastidious dog, the Basenji cleans itself with its tongue. Groom it with a semi-hard brush; to make the coat shine, rub the dog every day with a horsehair glove. This breed is sometimes susceptible to respiratory problems.